French police detained a young woman Tuesday after she walked into a maternity ward in the southern city of Marseille and snatched a newborn baby from near its sleeping mother.
The baby, a boy named Zacharia born on Friday, was recovered when the woman's parents turned her in to police a few hours after authorities launched a nationwide kidnap alert.
"Following the kidnap alert, some people called police to say their daughter was with them with a newborn," local prosecutor Jacques Dallest told AFP.
He said the woman was detained for questioning and had confessed to stealing the baby at the Saint-Joseph hospital in Marseille.
A hospital source said the boy was in good health and had been returned to his parents, Said Meddah (64) and his wife Nadia (28) both Algerians living in Marseille.
A source close to the investigation said the young woman's parents had picked up their daughter with the newborn during the night, not far from the hospital.
The baby was still wearing its pink maternity robe and hospital identification bracelet, the source said.
Dallest said hospital staff had spotted the woman roaming the halls of the maternity ward late on Monday and "acting suspiciously". Hospital video recordings showed her carrying the newborn around 10:30 pm.
The young woman had showed up at a different maternity ward in the city earlier in the night, pretending to be a trainee nurse and trying to get mothers to hand over their babies, Dallest said.
The Saint-Joseph hospital's maternity ward is the biggest in the region, and sees an average of 4000 births a year.